After a bout of bad weather, ice-related admissions to hospitals can triple.
Slips, trips and falls can happen to anyone, at any time of the year, but winter ice and snow on sidewalks and pedestrian crosswalks increase the risk of slips and falls substantially.
Injuries can range from minor scrapes and fractures to back injuries and head trauma.
In one year, there were 7,894 injuries from slips, trips and falls in B.C. Slips on stairs and steps alone accounted for 1,594 of these injuries. Across Canada, 9,000 people have been hospitalized in a single winter from falling on ice.
Winter-related slip and fall injuries can range from mild to severe.
For someone in a wheelchair, mobility obstacles are even greater and fear of outdoor falls in icy conditions lead many to be involuntarily homebound.
While falls can be caused by inattention and/or lack of caution, property owners and occupiers do have responsibilities to keep their premises safe, and owe a duty of care to people on their premises. There are also snow and ice removal bylaws in every B..C community which must be followed.
Slips and falls that occur due to a property owner’s failure to adhere to these bylaws could constitute negligence. If injuries are caused by the negligence of another, then you may be entitled to make a claim for damages.
Property owners and occupiers are responsible for the safety of their premises.
If an owner or occupier fails to ensure their property is reasonably safe, they have failed in their duty of care. Reasonable care involves a wide range of regular maintenance such as cleaning up spills; repairing defective structures such as handrails, stairs and uneven flooring; and ensuring stairwells are properly lit.
Many businesses have been forced to close, limit their hours, or reduce their capacity. Despite a vaccine, the economic impact will likely continue, particularly in the face of new strains of the virus.
On January 28, 2021, the Ontario Superior Court addressed “inadequacies in current legal responses to internet defamation and harassment” by creating a new tort of internet harassment and cyber bullying.
While the global pandemic has been incredibly disruptive, the Court is embracing these changes and the legal community is using the tools available to move matters through the court system despite challenges.